After returning from a West Coast road trip that saw them struggle to do much of anything at the plate in a four-game series against the Mariners, the Cleveland Guardians’ bats came alive in their return to Progressive Field, besting the Baltimore Orioles by a score of 5-1.
Baltimore starting pitcher Spenser Watkins breezed through the first three innings, retiring the first 11 batters he faced. But then José Ramírez reached on an opposite-field single with two outs in the fourth. Pitching out of the stretch for the first time all game, Watkins surrendered a two-run homer to Josh Naylor, giving the Guardians their first lead of the game.
Like sharks smelling blood in the water, the Guardians pounced on Watkins in the fifth inning. With one out, Owen Miller, Austin Hedges, and Will Benson all singled to load the bases. Benson’s was a scorcher up the middle, clocking an exit velocity of 107.6 mph. Steven Kwan took the opposite route, dropping a 74.2 mph double near the foul line in left field to score a pair. Amed Rosario then rocketed a sac fly to center to make it a 5-1 score in favor of Cleveland.
That was more than enough run support for Guardians starting pitcher Cal Quantrill, who was able to work around some command issues to limit Baltimore to one hit and one earned run over six innings. He ran into trouble in the second inning, giving up a leadoff single and a walk that allowed the Orioles to take a 1-0 lead on a sac fly two batters later. Quantrill walked three on the night, but settled in after the third inning to retire the final nine batters he faced.
Trevor Stephan, James Karinchak, and Emmanuel Clase combined to extend the Cleveland bullpen’s scoreless streak to 29.1 consecutive innings.
Making a rare start in center field, Will Benson did his part to keep the Orioles off the basepaths with a pair of leaping catches at the wall, including this fifth-inning grab that robbed Rougned Odor of an extra-base hit: